Posted on Jan 10, 2021

10 January 2021

In the last scene of the movie “Rag Time,”

the central character, a black man who has fought for dignity throughout the movie, sits with his head in his hands, crying, and shouts to God,

“Tell me what to do, tell me what to do.  All along I kept waiting for a sign, sure

that you would make known to me what I should do.  I can’t wait any longer, tell


Those of us who are bystanders to this man’s agony do not hear any message, do not see any sign,

we know only that the man in the end does what he thinks is best.

That scene in “Rag Time” reminded me a great deal of the agony of Jesus in the garden.

We are told the story of Jesus crying out, but do not hear any response–

we know only that Jesus rises from prayer and does what he has to do–

he follows the pattern of his life so far.

Today in the Gospel we hear a story of the Baptism of Jesus.  We all hear that God speaks, gives a sign of favor.

This is very interesting.

There are only two times, technically speaking, that the Father speaks–here at the Baptism and again at the Transfiguration.  In both cases the Father says basically the same thing:

This is my son–he acknowledges a close relationship,

and my favor rests on him–confirms and affirms the life of Jesus.

This is very interesting because you would expect that we would hear more often from the Father.

We would especially expected to hear something from the Father at the Agony in the Garden, or before Pilate, or at the Resurrection–but we don’t.

After his baptism Jesus does the best he can, what he has to do–what he knows, intrinsically is right.  It would seem that the Father has enough confidence in him, and implicity in humanity to keep silent.

Now, what do we take from all this?

In being baptized in the Jordan, Jesus identifies himself completely with humankind, and

because of that identification we can be sure of God’s favor.

That is important because what is really important in the end is not God telling us what do,

But rather with what we have been given, we do what we know is right.

God will accept in us—the best we can give—and that should give us confidence to move on

With our lives, and not be crippled by self-doubt and fear.